Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stuck in a Dinner Rut...

As I was checking out at the grocery store today, buying hamburger and pasta for American Chop Suey tonight, I realized... I'm stuck in a dinner rut.

Don't get me wrong, I love American Chop Suey. But isn't it just a little... boring?

When we joined a CSA earlier this year it helped make our meals a little more interesting. 10 varieties of squash, collard greens, kale, beets. I got kind of inventive. But the CSA season is winding down, the vegetables we're getting are kind of bottom of the barrel in terms of quality, and I'm just sick of some of the same vegetables week in and week out.

I'm not quite like my mom yet -- every day of the week for her is associated with a different meat she always has for dinner. Monday is hamburger and pasta night, Tuesday chicken, Wednesday hamburger again, Thursday chicken again. And so on. But I do find myself getting into that routine with meals where I make the same things over and over again.

So - any ideas to help me get out of this rut? I'm all ears. I only have a few guidelines:
1) I don't really do dinner out of a box. I mean, I'll cook pasta and rice from a box, but I gave up Hamburger Helper years ago. Don't want to go down that road again. I'd like more "simple, fresh." I will do frozen vegetables.
2) My younger daughter has a dairy allergy. I can make some easy substitutions like soy milk for milk or soy butter for butter, and even some veggie cheese. But I try to stay away from overly cheesy dishes or anything made with milk-based soups.
3) I own a Crock-Pot. And I love using it! Any ideas beyond pot roast would be awesome.

Have at it.

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